To understand what went wrong at Hutcheson, how a hospital that thrived for decades slipped onto life support, the Times Free Press interviewed 57 sources, including former Hutcheson CEOs, senior managers, doctors, nurses, board members, attorneys and local politicians.

The newspaper also analyzed the hospital’s financial audits, monthly reports to the board of directors, Georgia Department of Community Health filings and U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid data.

After a Feb. 3 interview with Farrell Hayes, the Times Free Press attempted to reach the former CEO for a series of follow-up questions. He did not return multiple calls seeking comment. He also did not return a May 4 email listing specific questions.

Also after a Feb. 3 interview with Walker County Attorney Don Oliver, the Times Free Press sought answers to additional questions from Oliver and Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell. The attorney and commissioner did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

The Times Free Press submitted detailed questions in writing to a spokesperson for Stuart James, a lawyer representing Walker County in its active federal lawsuit with Erlanger Health System. The spokesperson responded with a one-page letter saying Heiskell, Oliver and others involved in the lawsuit will not “engage in a he-said she-said debate regarding the facts” of this series.



Tyler Jett


Maura Friedman and Dan Henry

Additional photography by John Rawlston


Ken Barrett and Ellis Smith


Matt McClane